She was a pain, and a vain one at that.
Nothing was ever good enough, and she was obsessed with her hair.
Arnie had had enough of her preening in front of the mirror, the trips to the beauty salon every five weeks for a trim and touch up (what? you thought that colour was natural?), and having to replace her brush every three months with a top of the range beauty aid that cost well over £100 a throw. It was costing him a fortune, though he wasn’t short of a few bob, but that was beside the point.
She used a different hairdresser for her weekly wash and blow dry in some ridiculous attempt to hide the fact that her hair was a Number 3 dye job, and not Mother Nature’s gift. The stylist wasn’t stupid, though confused as to why she was never asked to trim it. However, business four weeks out of every five was business, and at £65 a time, she wasn’t going to lose it.
At first, he’d thought it charming the way she asked him to brush her hair every night. Then it became a case of so many strokes, and heaven help him if he missed one.
Fifty for the left, fifty for the right, then another fifty each alternately, so 200 in all. It was a ritual he’d grown to detest as much as the bitch herself.
As her hair got longer, so did his frustrations, and come bedtime, it had to be spread out from her face and over her pillow before he retired to his own room. Lovemaking was rare because she didn’t like the idea of him messing up her hair during the process.
He had once joked that if she died in her sleep at least her hair would look beautiful. The look she gave him could have cut glass, so he never dared pass another comment on her crowning glory.
She’d woken up screaming one night that a serpent was trying to devour her, when in truth it was her hair, now a tangled mass from her frantic thrashings, that had become taut around her throat.
As he counted the strokes to pacify her and get out the knots, a plan formed in his mind to escape her.
They said it was an accident, a million to one tragedy that could not have been foreseen. Her hair had been responsible of course, strangling poor Arnie as he slept.
She said he had always been fascinated by her hair, and loved to groom her, to feel her hair against his skin and insist on fanning it out before falling asleep beside her. Her quiet sobs as she related their lovemaking the previous night to the police would have melted stone.
Afterwards, she moved away.
As she sat in her new stylist’s chair, she said she fancied a change and could she cut it into a short bob. She chuckled. Money was no object.
And her new neighbour was a widower.